Wednesday, 31 July 2013

yesterdays work - missed the day by 9 minutes

Velatura,colour and black and juicy red glazes tomorrow. Hopefully at the framers for the weekend!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

getting closer by getting further away

I have completed most of the opaque underpainting of the flesh; the face is still a drawing...NO paint at all. I don't usually do this, but as it was intended to be a painting/portrait hybrid of sorts I thought it best to leave time to concentrate solely on the head later in the process.
I intend to set aside a longer period of time where I can fully focus on a flattering likeness (this is not to suggest that the sitter "needs a bit of work Hahahaha" .The dramatic Chiaroscuro lighting can be very unforgiving (especially with women) due to it's tendency to enhance lines and creases and as a result can add a few years. I will use the other reference material from the same session.

The background has been discussed with the client and all my fantastic and complicated ideas were rejected. I was putting too much thought into it.
The client suggested we keep it simple and have a lighter area behind the figure and darken the edges. A technique more popularly used in photography called "vignetting" where the corners and edges are darker. I have used this technique before in smaller paintings to create an antique effect. Why couldn't I see this solution?

This is one of the reasons I love commission work and view it as collaboration. The client can often see solutions to compositional issues that the artist cannot. It's very easy to get too wrapped up in overcomplicating things and over-egg the pudding.

There is still a a lot of repainting, velatura, glazing and general tweaking to be done but hopefully this should be completed by the end of the week.

Friday, 26 July 2013


Yesterday was one of the most frustrating, disheartening and stressful days I have had in a while.

I lost my studio due to a punctuation error (smiley faces are apparently very important), I didn't get to do any tattooing in Lincoln as a result of  me being wound like a spring after a telephone argument with a friend over a misunderstanding involving the every-mans waste of time FACEBOOK, a mistake involving trains left me stranded in the backend of nowhere with a dead mobile phone and then I had to go move some of my stuff out of the nice new studio at 10pm once I finally got back.
Shitty day is an absolute understatement! It would appear that nothing is anywhere near as good or sorted as it seems SCREW YOU UNIVERSE!

So I had two of these done to hopefully retrieve some joy. I'm just including one for sorrow as it really was a terrible day

Today has been not a great deal better than yesterday. Setting up a very temporary home studio in order to keep up with gallery and private commitments is not much fun. Phone ringing every five minutes, not being able to meet an important person, a small bedroom to try to organise as a studio and there are screaming kids in the house. Moan, Moan, Moan. this run of misery has to subside at some juncture. 

Heres a bit of a face I drew today.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

brain fried

 A bit dark but coming on nicely. I have finished this early light stage of the drapery and put a few burnt umber wash into the shadow areas of face and flesh. Still have not started painting flesh.


Animals of the dead variety


Friday, 19 July 2013

FAR too hot for the studio today

So I did a bit of this random portrait. Just trying a few different things.

And then did a bit of this in the evening

Good night

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Slowly slowly

More refining drawn contours and filling in broad tones in burnt umber. The flesh areas are still the untouched imprimatura. The areas of skin will begin to take shape using this base tone tomorrow. 

This looks a little yellow for some reason... poor camera/different time of day. 
Added a bit more detail to the fabric underpainting and then gave it a crimson glaze. I have done this early on in the painting as it is the most dominant colour. All other colours can then be judged in relation to this. 

It looks a lot more refined in these tiny photographs but this is very much like a watercolour or tinted drawing. The fun starts tomorrow when I get stuck into some real painting. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Told you there would be more...

This is the process I am using for a commission for a client from Aberdeen Northern Scotland. I like to keep the client informed at every stage...lots of emails! I met the client in glasgow, discussed their requirements and then began experimenting with poses.

Allowed the client to go away and choose the pose they prefered.

Started with a hand stretched triple primed very fine grain linen canvas. primed/toned again with opaque burnt umber and white acrylic as a mid tone imprimatura. 

sent a few head sketches by email for approval. Once approved, drew in head from multiple references. Sketches, photos and memory.

Refining the drawing at this stage is of great importance as it is the framework for everything to come. A dodgy eye or misshapen foot at this stage will always come back to bite you at a later stage.

Then I blocked in a few of the larger dark areas using burnt umber Acrylic as it allows me to work into these areas at a quicker pace due to acrylic paint's fast drying time.

Loony Bin tomorrow so bit of a day off.

This Morning... Lots more later

Here's a wee sketch I did for a fella's Birthday

Monday, 15 July 2013

Never been so busy


Here's Dean the piercer at Living Colour Lincoln who insanely gave me his inner thigh for the day. 

Met up with my old pal Mel. I am going to convince her to model for me. She just isn't aware of it yet.

Mr Chewit Self... this makes me sad. Geographical and logistical challenges mean this will be on hold for a while. Bummer!

Probably not all
but I'm Very tired

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Peak district near Hathersage

Sometimes you just have to turn off your phone and get away to clear the head. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

An enlightning day in Lincoln

As I presented Dave with his portrait, an unexpected response of  laughter echoed through the studio. Apparently I've made him look too mean. He's regarded as the type of employer that refuses to being called BOSS or anything like it. Laid back to the point of being horizontal... 

Dave kindly did my left hand today (the El Corazon one) should look better once the redness and swelling goes down. This tattoo took far, far longer than usual as Dave patiently explained every step of the process. I was taking notes and everything. Big love to John of Living Colour for also giving time to explain a few things.

Here's Leda looking all sexy as usual

Glasgow! I may move to you in a few months but this raining cats and dogs shit has to stop... seriously. Starbucks as a refuge from the rain is shit... and expensive.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Here's the finished portrait. Quite small and fiddley but I think it's quite intimate.

Here's something I have been playing with. Different processes, layers, underpaintings etc 
Boring I know but sometimes it is


Monday, 8 July 2013

Mr Tattersall

There are a few minor glazes to add to this wee portrait. It's a thank you gift for the time and instruction Mr Tattersall of Living Colour Lincoln has been kind enough to give me.  Over all, I'm pretty pleased.

I'm hoping to get a few portrait commissions out of this body of work.
Preferably tattoo artists.
Contact 07914 817 947 for prices etc.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Lots of portrait work coming in... so get em whilst they are cheapish

Started this today. They can end up like this if you have the right budget.



Friday, 5 July 2013


Here's a wee test/demonstration piece I have lying around to physically explain different techniques. It's a portion of an abandoned painting that has been used to explain glazing colour over monotonal underpainting, impasto, opaque into transparent velatura/glazes, dry brush and many other fiddlesome little things. I'm starting to become quite fond of it now.

Here's the basic underpainting of a moth hidden away in the big red Painting. It's tiny! Needs to be more grey and brown in colour. Possibly a slight shadow.

I'm then going to use a extremely lightly saturated glaze of viridian green around the whole painting to almost imperceptably deaden the red and lead the eye to the area around the moth. 

Then a frame

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Still messing around with this play piece

Big red needs an hours work to complete

And here's my student Mr Slack looking rather pleased with his achievements. Quite rightly so. Expect big things. Dark things! 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

TUITION from a veteran

The AWESOME and ridiculously nice guy Dave Tattersall of LIVING COLOUR tattoos in Lincoln came through to Prophecy today to teach me all about coil machines... In a great deal of detail. He even gave me homework. Such a nice man, no bullshit and blunt as a spoon. Top teacher. Thanks Dave!

Homework is to dismantle and reassemble this coil machine until it becomes second nature to me.

Kelv's homework for me is to set up this machine quickly, hygienically and to his standards 

None of this is easy

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